Cheap Entry-Level VR-Ready Gaming PC Build

In $400-$800, Custom Builds by Branton6 Comments

cheap vr gaming pc build

At just under $800, this is probably going to be the cheapest VR capable gaming PC build that you’ll be able to put together until the RX 480 releases, without sacrificing some performance that is.

Regardless of the VR unit you have, this build will work perfectly to ensure your virtual reality experience is what it should be. A GTX 970 is currently the cheapest graphics card that supports VR, and that’s what this build was based around.

That’s about all you’re going to need, seriously. If this is the first gaming computer you’ve ever built, it might seem like a daunting process that only an expert could complete, but you would be wrong. Building your own gaming PC couldn’t be easier, and there are a ton of concise guides out there that will walk you through the process.

If you’re still thinking that it’s a super-difficult process, just click (or tap) below, skim through the video, and then you’ll know for sure.

Here are the basic steps that I follow when building:
  1. Install the Power Supply into the Case
  2. Install the processor
  3. Install RAM
  4. Mount the CPU cooler
  5. Place the rear I/O plate
  6. Mount the motherboard to the case
  7. Plug your GPU in
  8. Install any storage
  9. Plug everything into the appropriate spots
  10. Turn it on / Install OS & drivers!

Video Walkthrough

Instead of me typing out a ton of of words to explain this process, why not watch this video put together by EasyPCbuilder.com? He does a great job of explaining everything in detail, and is going to get you running in 30 minutes.

Keep in mind that it’s not the exact same build, but the process is really similar. There’s really only 1 way to do things, and it’s pretty hard to mess anything up if you’re being careful.

Cheap VR-Ready Gaming PC Build

Updated: June 15th, 2016

  • Corsair Carbide 100R

    Great layout, optimal cooling, 2x front USB 3.0.
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  • Gigabyte GA-H110M-A

    LGA 1151, H110, mATX, only 2 DIMMs for RAM. 2x USB 3.0 headers + 2 on i/o panel.
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  • Intel i5 6500

    3.2GHz, 4-cores, 4-threads. Comes with a CPU cooler.
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  • Gigabyte GTX 970 G1

    4GB GDDR5 VRAM, HDMI / DisplayPort/ DVI connections. The minimum requirement for VR.
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  • EVGA 600W B1

    600W, up to 85% efficiency, 3-year warranty
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  • Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB

    2133MHz, dual-channel pair, CL14
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  • Seagate 1TB SSHD

    3.5 inch, 64MB cache. hybrid drives are faster than your typical HDD while offering more storage at less cost than an SSD.
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Suggested/Optional Upgrades

  • PNY CS1311 240GB SSD

    Up to 90,000 IOPS read/write. An SSD is the single best upgrade to make your PC feel faster (won’t get more FPS in games).
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  • Samsung Internal 24x CD DVD±R/RW kit

    Comes with mounting hardware & cables. An optical drive isn’t necessary, but if you’re installing your OS from a disc you’ll need it.
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  • Inateck PCI-E to USB 3.0 Expansion Hub

    Although this build has enough USB ports for your typical VR setup, if you want to plug more stuff in you’ll need more ports.
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Details

This is just a quick build list to show you what a base-level VR build might look like with the hardware that we currently have access to. Once AMD drops the RX 480, and if it proves to be as good as they say it is, a VR capable build will become quite a bit cheaper than you see here. That said, this is currently the minimum spec build that you’ll need for VR, and quite possibly the cheapest.

For starters, to get the price below $800, I had to opt for a lower quality motherboard than I would have hoped for, but it’ll get the job done well enough. It has 2 rear USB 3.0 ports, and 2 USB 3.0 headers to power our cases front USB 3.0 ports, so we’ll have more than enough USB ports to power either the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.

gigabyte-gtx-970-g1When it comes to graphics, the minimum requirement for VR is currently a GTX 970, so that’s basically the foundation of this build. Gigabyte’s G1 Gaming iteration of the 970 uses their proprietary WindForce cooling system that keeps the card cool while staying relatively silent. It has all of the display ports that you could hope for, including HDMI, so we’re pretty much set for VR. Outside of VR, the GTX 970 is a powerhouse and it’ll handle anything you can throw at it with relative ease.

Operating System

When it comes to picking an operating system, we’re pretty limited in our choices. We have Linux-based choices that’ll work alright for the most part as a free solution, or we have Windows.

On one hand, a Linux-based OS can be a great and affordable solution when you’re on a tight budget, but on the other hand, Linux & VR aren’t entirely compatible together just yet..

So, we’re pretty much limited to a copy of Windows. Not only that, but if you want to take advantage of DirectX 12, then we’re even more limited to just Windows 10.

Extras

If you don’t already have things like a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and some kind of audio, you might want to take a look at some of my suggestions. They’re hand-picked to match this budget level, and they’re all great peripherals.

  • Asus VS238H-P

    23″, 1080p 60Hz, 2ms response time – Great for gaming
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  • Redragon K552 Keyboard

    Mechanical switches, wired, lightweight, durable, adjustable backlight.
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  • EVGA TORQ X10 Carbon

    Wired, adjustable weight & height system, ambidextrous (use either hand).
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  • Creative Sound BlasterX H7

    The best gaming headset you can get, in my opinion.
    View

If you plan on using a WiFi connection, then you’re also going to need some kind of WiFi adapter as very few motherboards come with it built-in.

You have a couple of options, either a USB-based WiFi adapter, or one that mounts internally, but you only need one. USB is more convenient and much cheaper in most cases, but less reliable than an internally mounted unit.

  • TP-LINK TL-WDN4800

    Internally mounted WiFi adapter. 2.4GHz or 5GHz. (can’t be used if using the USB expansion linked above)
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  • TP-LINK TL-WN722N

    USB WiFi adapter. 2.4GHz
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Conclusion

All-in-all, this is a great entry-level VR ready build that’ll serve you well for a long time. Yep, the GTX 1070 has been released, but the 970 is cheaper and this build is all about putting together the cheapest VR capable PC possible, if you want to upgrade to a GTX 1070 that’s entirely your call.

This build meets all of the necessary requirements for VR, and it’s also capable of handling any non-VR game you can throw at it. The only thing left to do is pick it up and put it together! 

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Author

Branton

The first game I ever played on PC was Ultima Online way back in 1999, since then I've been hooked on PC gaming and putting together awesome builds! Thanks for stopping by!

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6 Comments on “Cheap Entry-Level VR-Ready Gaming PC Build”

  1. Well, I guess I can get this, then! I’ve been wanting to get a VR-ready computer, but then I thought of waiting until VR is cheaper and more optimized. So I was going to get the $700 build. But this is only $60 more, and is just about everything I wanted!

    Quick question: What would be the Nvidia Geforce equivalent of the graphics card on here? I’m also thinking of getting the Nvidia Shield tablet K1.

    1. Alright, I now feel a bit stupid because this IS an Nvidia Geforce graphics card (at least, that’s what NewEgg says). The NewEgg description even SAYS it can connect to Nvidia Shield. *facepalms*

    2. Hey Aaron,

      The graphics card used in this build is actually an Nvidia GTX 970 – the card is just manufactured by another company. With graphics cards, companies like AMD and Nvidia will generally produce a “GPU” and then a reference model of a graphics card using that GPU, then companies like MSI, Gigabyte & EVGA will take that and make it better in a “custom model” of the card – custom meaning it uses non-reference features, like an upgraded cooling profile for instance.

      I hope that helps 🙂

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